The use of large up-front fees and disproportionate deposits has already resulted in significant cost consequences for one care provider.
In response to the coming into force of these “asset freedoms”, the HCA has issued a consultation on an amendment to the Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard (TIE Standard). The consultation can be viewed here.
If amended as proposed, the revised TIE Standard will require Registered Providers (RPs) to do more to consult with tenants when proposing a change in landlord (e.g. transferring a tenanted property) or a change to its management arrangements.
Currently, the TIE Standard imposes minimal requirements on housing associations to consult with tenants if they are proposing to change their landlord or make a significant change to tenants’ management arrangements. The TIE Standard merely requires housing associations to set out clearly the costs and benefits of relevant options when proposing changes.
The proposed amendments
The HCA proposes strengthening the consultation requirements which would require RPs to do as follows:
- Consult with tenants in a fair, timely, appropriate and effective manner;
- Set out the proposals clearly and in an appropriate amount of detail and set out any actual or potential advantages or disadvantages (including costs) to tenants over the short, medium and long term; and
- Demonstrate to affected tenants how they have taken the outcome of the consultation into account when reaching a decision.
What the HCA is trying to achieve
The imminent asset freedoms, which are not limited to void stock, could lead to change in how social housing is delivered in the future and the HCA has already expressed that it will be most interested in transfers of tenanted stock outside of the sector.
Jim Bennett, Assistant Director for regulatory strategy at the HCA suggests that the proposed changes are designed to:
- Ensure that consultations are of sufficient quality;
- Ensure that Housing Associations are completely up front about possible implications of their disposal plans; and
- To ensure that Housing Associations are using the additional freedoms provided to them from 6 April 2017 responsibly and in accordance with regulatory standards.
Housing associations, which are registered charities, should also ensure they familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 when making disposals or charging properties.
The HCA has also published a decision statement, following consultation, on its registration criteria. These criteria will apply to both new housing associations and housing associations that have converted or amalgamated.
The consultation on the TIE Standard ends on 22 March 2017. Responses should be sent online here.
For more information
See the details of our recent housing roundtable discussion on de-regulation for more detail about what "asset freedoms" might mean in practice.
You can also find out more about how we support the housing sector with legal advice here.
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